Washington Twp. Firefighters Save Building in Andover
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP (Mercer County) - June 27, 2007 - Firefighters from the Washington Township Fire Department and several surrounding agencies battled an attic fire in an occupied condominium complex during the evening hours of .
A severe thunderstorm began pounding Mercer County, New Jersey just after 10:00 PM and as the storm rumbled across the region, local firefighters began responding to the usual assortment of storm related calls. Mercer County’s Central Communications Center was quickly overwhelmed by “wires” calls, automatic alarms, flooding and lightning strikes.
Just after 10:30 PM, the Washington Township Fire Department (WTFD) was detailed to an automatic alarm on Patricia Lane. Moments later the Washington Township Police 911 operators began receiving calls about a lightning strike in the “Andover Glen” condominium complex with reports of “smoke coming from the roof” of building #14. Rescue 140 from WTFD diverted from Patricia Lane and responded to the assignment along with automatic aid companies from Hamilton Township (Engine 19 and Ladder 17) and Upper Freehold (Monmouth County Engine 82). Washington Township Engine 40 also responded having just cleared up from a previous RIT assignment in Hamilton Township.
Police arrived on scene and confirmed a working fire and began evacuating residents from the building. Engine 40, Ladder 17, and Rescue 140 arrived on scene to find a three story condominium building with fire showing from a gable attic vent. County Communications dispatched the balance of the first alarm and also detailed an additional Ladder and BLS unit per request of first arriving units. Ladder 17 extended their tower ladder to the gable as Engine 40 stretched a 1 ¾ inch attack line to the loft of the second floor condo. Rescue 140 entered the second floor condominium and began pulling ceilings to expose the fire. Once the ceiling had been opened, Engine 40 made quick work of extinguishing the blaze.
Firefighters on the scene worked in torrential rain to swiftly control the fire. The assignment was held to the first alarm. Units not committed were cleared from the scene as needed to answer additional alarms in Washington Township. Two second floor condominiums suffered minor to moderate water and smoke damage. Once overhaul was completed, the building was secured by the fire department. The Township Building Official determined that, since the fire damage was limited by the quick actions of the WTFD, the residents could return to their condos that night.
Additional responding companies (not already mentioned) were WTFD Department Chief (Kevin Brink), Fire Prevention Bureau Captain (Dennis Symons), West Windsor Rescue 43, East Windsor Ladder 42 and Hightstown EMS ambulance 41-12.